How to Hire an Associate Dentist

It is easy to list out the reasons why you should hire an associate dentist for your practice. Not only can it help clear the back logs in your schedule, and provide you with well deserved personal downtime, it can improve the value of your practice, increase your financial stability and provide your patients with increased exceptional care.

But what attracts a good associate? Obviously, you can imagine that the associate dentist salary in Canada varies by region, by city, and by practice. The size of the practice, the quality of the equipment, the members of the team, and the reputation of your dental practice, the period of time the practice has been in existence, can all affect whether you find any applicants at all.

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Associate dentist salary Toronto vs Rural Locations

So how much do associate dentists make? This is often a percentage of production. The more saturated a market is, the lower the percentage may be. The more rural, or remote that a dental practice is, along with how many competitive practices are in a single market, the higher the percentage will be. On average this can range between 35 and 45 percent and is often a sticking point when it comes to building a contract. Rural locations can also provide the associate with more stability in the community, as they are building a home away from home with the residents, their patients and their coworkers.

Toronto is an extremely saturated market, and with the availability of small carrier flights to many areas such as Sault Ste Marie, Thunder Bay, and Kenora it is easy for a dentist to work in these areas for Monday to Friday hours and come home for the weekend and make an exceptional amount of money while they do so. Some dental practices will even cover accommodations and travel!


What Do I Want the Associate For?

Dentists don’t simply just do the ‘dentist job’. Sometimes, we want the hiring associate to be mentored by the lead dentist at the dental practice, sometimes, we want to be able to pass along the practice to someone trusted, in seamless practice transitions. Sometimes we want an associate to do a buy-in and have ‘skin in the game’.

Sometimes we are simply looking for someone to cover for an illness, mat leave, or leave of absence and want the associate dentist to join on a specific date. This is often referred to as a locum, and it helps to have a defined idea of when you would like the associate to start and finish their contract. The requirement could be for a full-time or part-time role. Some general dentist practices just want to be able to perform more in-house services for their patients and require an on-site prosthodontist or orthodontist, so they do not have to refer these services out or because they want help to handle the patient load.

Having clarity about the role you want the associate to play at your dental office is the first step of how to hire an Associate Dentist, with a better than just a good possibility of getting a perfect fit.


Why hire an Associate Dentist | Associates on Demand

How to Find an Associate Dentist

You may have scoured many of the dental classified postings available across the Internet. This can lead to spending more time on the job hunt than on practicing dentistry in your dental practice. On top of searching, you also have to spend time contacting the applicants, interviewing, checking references and background, confirming licensing and adapting your contracts to fit their needs. Job boards are available at the universities, and associate listings in the standard dental magazines, but a lot of this can feel like yelling into a void, hoping that a great applicant comes your way.

This is why it would be far easier to use a dental associate placement service so that you can keep busy doing what makes you and your practice successful – taking care of your patients. However, these services are often just putting a warm body into a chair – they are not taking into consideration whether or not there is a fit with the team, the practice, or the community. They know you have a spot to fill, and they simply put someone in it. You want to make sure your patients are in good hands, and that your team will be able to work together to improve your dental practice and increase your success.

It is hard to do that when you are constantly in disagreement, or do not have compatible working styles. At Associates on Demand, we utilize Kolbe Assessments, which determine how an individual takes action. Many dentists have very similar Kolbe Assessment results – so it is always interesting to see results for a dentist with out of the box thinking! This is not a personality test, but rather it gets to the core of who you are and how you like to work. When these scores are complimenting each other, it can create a great symphony of compatibility. Your team and your patients will notice!

Now if you use an associate dentist recruiter or dentist head hunters, they may be able to provide a dental placement service that is a bit more tailored, as they like to take a more personal touch to matching a dental practice to a dentist. Often these companies take a large percentage of the first year’s production of that associate, sometimes in excess of 30%. Associates on Demand currently works on a flat fee, and will soon be adopting a small fee percentage, but it is mere pocket change compared to these high-priced recruitment companies.

You do have to take into consideration thought, that the best dental recruitment agencies are few and far between as not many recruitment companies cater to strictly dentists.


9 Ways to recruit top quality dental associates

1. Referrals from other Dentists in your network.

2. Dental associate recruiters

3. Job boards on recruitment websites

4. Job boards of dental schools

5. Job boards of provincial dental associations

6. Job fairs at dental schools

7. Ads on LinkedIn

8. Dental practice sale brokers

9. Vendor reps


1. Referrals from other Dentists in your network

Dentists in your area will have a good idea of the associates available and the movement of associates between practices. Reaching out to a fellow dentist about hiring an associate will give you a good idea of who to contact and who to avoid based on their experience of their work performance. You are much more likely to get an honest review of an associate’s work and talent from a fellow dentist than anywhere else.

2. Dental associate recruiters

Dental associate recruiters do the work for you – you can concentrate on running your practice and keeping your patients happy, while the recruiters do all of the advertising, legwork, interviewing and background checks on your behalf.

3. Job boards on recruitment websites

Job boards on recruitment websites are often billed monthly, and range from $200 to $1000 per month, per job posting. These are not the best place to post jobs as they often lead to plenty of views of the job ad, but if not well-written, detailed, and including salary – you are not likely to get many hits.

4. Job boards of dental schools

These job boards are easy to sign up for, are almost always free and are great for locating talent that has graduated in the last 1 to 2 years. You can also try using them to gather applicants ahead of graduation dates,  but know that you will have to provide mentorship and guidance to many of these applicants as they will be newly graduated.

5. Job boards of provincial dental associations

Job boards for provincial dental associations are often closed to the public – if you have your own licensing for the province you are seeking applicants in, you can use that to enter the job boards. Unfortunately, you cannot access out – of – province dental association job boards, so your pool will be limited if seeking additional applicants.

6. Job fairs at dental schools

Job fairs or career fairs at schools are often not program specific – if you are to register for a booth, ranging in price from $250 to $2000 and attend, you will have all the additional costs as well, tablecloths, signage, merchandise, swag items, and you will hope that students of the dental program are attending AND find your booth. Due to size and funding of universities, they are not likely to have an exclusive job fair for only their dental school.

7. Ads on LinkedIn

Ads on LinkedIn are a great way to target exclusively members of the dental community. For a relatively small amount of money, far less than a booth or recruitment website posting, you can reach dentists across the country. The LinkedIn ad system is fairly intuitive, and it also is not restricted for career related posts like other social media sites.

8. Dental practice sale brokers

In the same way that your dental network is a great resource for fellow dentists and associates, so are the brokers that sell the practices. They will know of dentists that are looking to transition from dental practice ownership to just working as an associate. These dentists often love practicing dentistry, but are no longer interested in the business side of the industry.

9. Vendor reps

Vendor reps are in contact with dentists across a large geographic area. They will hear the news about dentists leaving or joining practices maybe even sooner than your dentist network. They will also know what practices are in need of more dentists and what practices are especially busy. Putting the word out with your vendor reps is a great idea to get the word out without spending any money to advertise.


So, how to hire a dentist with Associates on Demand?

Associates on Demand can help the with the goals of your practice for adding associate dentists to your dental office. We dedicate ourselves to finding the Perfect Fit – we ensure that not only does the dental associate have the right skill sets and requirements for your practice, but that their aspirations and work goals as well as working styles are a match for you and your office. We utilize Kolbe Assessments and our in-depth review process to ensure that you are satisfied with your associate. So much so, that we offer a 6-month guarantee – if for any reason, theirs or yours, the dentist associate leaves the practice, we will replace them at no additional fee.

We conduct all of the footwork, advertising, interviews, assessments, background checks, and reference checks for you, so that by the time they are in front of you, it can be as simple as a yes or a no.


Is the associate employee part of Associates on Demand, or my employee?

All of the associates that are put forward to you as possible candidates for your position are considered an employee independent contractor or they can be considered as full employees on your team and have access to your employee benefits. This would come down to how you choose to hire your dentist applicant, they are not under contract with Associates on Demand in any way.

Another matter to consider is timing. Often, a great associate is already working somewhere else. You have a great offer, a great location, and a great team. You must make sure that the associate A) is outside of the non-compete areas on their existing contract, and B) that you give them the time they need to give notice to their current employer. This can be up to 3 months or even longer, so you may have to wait until they are available.

Ready to Hire an Associate?

All of these things take into consideration the why, when and how of hiring an associate. It is by no means an easy thing to do, and some locations can take months or years to place an associate. Making sure that you, the practice owner  have a strong and valid offer, great production numbers, and a good production % on offer can make the role more attractive to prospective applicants.

Unfortunately, due to COVID, many factors have changed drastically when it comes to placement, including the willingness for candidates to move cross-country, or ability to graduate from their programs. Attractiveness of the position, the compensation, and the reputation of the practice and working dentists all play a role in how long it takes to attract an associate.

If you find you are struggling with creating a game plan for how to make your practice attractive to applicants, reach out to us with your concerns. We are happy to discuss how you can move forward. And if you would like to engage our services, we can send through an engagement letter that outlines all our requirements and you can make an educated decision about how you want to spend your time – pouring through hours and hours of applicants and reference checks – or leaving it to the experts and focusing on your dentistry and patients.

We also can provide you with the context for improving your practice with the help of our associated coaching team, and make sure that the onboarding of your new associate is smooth and uncomplicated. Pairing this with an expert SEO advantage from our web development team, and you can position yourself in 2022 to have increased success with your dental practice.

Associates on Demand is here to help – and to find your Perfect Fit.

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